New Hampshire Press Association Board of Directors
Meeting Minutes — Nov. 9, 2017
Board of Directors: Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, a regular board meeting was called to order via phone conference call by President Vanessa Palange at 1:02 p.m.
In Attendance: In addition to Ms. Palange and Executive Director Phil Kincade, the following board members were in attendance: Howard Altschiller, David Brooks, Chuck Douglas, Heather Henline, Carol Robidoux and Trent Spiner, participating for portions or all of the call, as individual schedules permitted.
A quorum of membership was present.
President’s Report by Vanessa Palange: Ms. Palange noted the new board now was in effect, after the Oct. 31, 2017, election by the general membership. She noted outgoing president Mr. Spiner wasn’t able to remain on the bank account in a signatory capacity. The bank required all signers be present during signing of the transition paperwork, and Mr. Spiner wasn’t able to make the visit to the bank after the Oct. 31 meeting.
Ms. Palange asked for approval of the Oct. 31 minutes, with minor corrections as noted by the board. These were unanimously approved, as amended.
Ms. Robidoux questioned the association’s current logo design, as it was included on the minutes. After discussion, the board agreed to look at developing a fresh, dynamic logo as we move forward with rejuvenating the NHPA. Mr. Spiner offered to donate his newspaper’s design services for the project.
Executive Director’s Report by Phil Kincade: Mr. Kincade discussed preparing a press release about the newly revived New Hampshire Press Association, to include the new board. He will follow up via email. The release then could be published by members to help share the NHPA mission, increase interest in membership and illustrate the organization once again is active.
The release is only part of the communication enhancements Mr. Kincade wants to make as executive director. He plans to update the email list, which also will be shared with the board. He also will put together and distribute scheduled email updates to the board as well as general membership.
One of the primary concerns previously was a lack of information from NHPA. Mr. Kincade said he has made it his mission to rectify that and to continue evaluation of the association’s web page, Twitter, Facebook and other social media/communication platforms.
Treasurer’s Report by David Brooks: The membership, with Mr. Kincade, will review a fee structure and billing for dues. This will be distributed via email and discussed during the next board meeting.
Also, multiple members noted Mr. Kincade should receive mileage reimbursement for his efforts as executive director and a stipend. Historically, dues were used for this purpose. It also was noted the value of Mr. Kincade’s volunteer efforts greatly exceed any stipend the association could provide, and the board expressed its thanks to him for taking on this challenge.
Legislative — Trent Spiner, chair: Mr. Spiner discussed work by the state’s Right to Know Commission, as it applies to media, specifically Right to Know requests and the appeals process when a request is denied. Mr. Douglas brought up an ombudsman approach, which Mr. Spiner said is in use in some states. Ms. Robidoux also indicated she would like to know how other states handle the appeals process, prompting further discussion by our board.
Mr. Spiner shared the RTK Commission assessed in its investigative capacity how these matters are handled in other states. Mr. Spiner said he would distribute to the board via email the commission’s pertinent research as well as the commission’s report for our review, so we can make recommendations as to how to proceed as a press association.
This is timely, as the Legislature will continue assessing Right to Know legislation in the upcoming session. Some of the procedures being proposed for appeal could prove to be cost prohibitive — either for the person or media agency, or conversely for the state.
Content Sharing — Vanessa Palange, chair: Ms. Palange discussed the membership’s interest in content sharing, noting we still have to take into consideration NHPA represents multimedia partners. Sharing among print-centered members, such as newspapers, might prove to be less of a logistical challenge than those who work with other content. She was going to ask interested members for bullet points of what they are looking for in terms of shared content. The committee then would review this and see what role NHPA may play in helping to facilitate that sharing or to connect the interested parties. Mr. Kincade was to share his list of members who were interested in this topic with Ms. Palange for further investigation.
Contest — Heather Henline, chair: Ms. Henline explained about the availability of online platforms for managing a contest and noted many press associations are using this type of format. It was agreed she would reach out to these sites and get cost estimates for the committee’s review. There also was discussion about how much to charge for a contest, whether a per-entry fee or a flat rate would be better. That may be determined based upon how the online portal system works.
Further, the committee will prepare and distribute via email an online survey to gauge membership interest in a contest and the types of categories those entering would like to see. Mr. Kincade said he would look into the status of the association’s Mail Chimp account. Mr. Brooks stated he had not paid an invoice for this service, so he wasn’t aware if it still was active. He also suggested making payment of dues a requirement for contest entry.
Ms. Robidoux asked to be added to the committee, and it was noted Jon Van Fleet may have interest as well.
• Infrastructure — This was an update about how we can communicate as a board as well as an association. Ms. Palange wanted to know whether we have a Gmail account and who has access. Mr. Kincade is working through these questions, including the need to develop the association’s professional infrastructure. He will work to access this and also to set up Google Docs.
This continued into a discussion about developing a historical record for what we do. Other topics discussed: whether we have a registered domain name; web page, Facebook page, and functionality of both.
• Mailing Address — Discussion about ongoing infrastructure development, access and review led to a question about whether the association has an active, valid mail address. Board members’ questions included whether it made sense to have this mailing address set as Mr. Kincade’s home for convenience, whether a post office box would be best and other options.
It was suggested setting up a box at the Nackey Loeb School of Journalism, 749 E. Industrial Park Dr. Manchester, N.H. Several board members live or work in Manchester, making this reasonably accessible. That option will be pursued.
In addition to mail, online payment options were discussed for the remittance of dues. These options included the use of PayPal and whether our website is set up with a button to accept payments. Mr. Brooks said he was unaware of such functionality at this time.
• Lobbyist — Mr. Douglas inquired about use of a lobbyist. Though this was discussed briefly at the Oct. 31 meeting, Mr. Douglas made a formal motion, after board discussion, to offer to privately pay a $1,000 retainer for a year’s worth of services for Scott Spradling to register as a lobbyist on behalf of the association. The board entered into discussion about the benefits of this, and the motion received a first and second from Mr. Brooks and Ms. Palange respectively. It carried unanimously.
• First Amendment Event — Mr. Douglas also discussed whether the NEPA would like to partner with the state Supreme Court Society for Life and Liberty for a First Amendment event featuring journalists who previously were held captive and on the front lines of this issue. The consensus was to move forward with more information and to learn how we could partner.
• Internships and Job Fairs — This topic was discussed briefly. The board decided not to move forward with individual committees to address these issues at this time. Instead, we will focus on making progress on initiatives already in the works.
Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at approximately 1:45 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Douglas. It was seconded by Mr. Brooks.
Next meeting: Our next meeting is scheduled for a conference call at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. An agenda will be forthcoming.
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